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RNLI Case Study

by msecadm4921

The new Lifeboat Crew Training College at the RNLI headquarters in Poole, Dorset is a four storey, £11m complex of three buildings.

They provide lecture rooms, a restaurant, 60 en-suite bedrooms, and a large wave tank in which lifeboats can be floated and even turned upside down for crew training purposes.
As with most new buildings, the security system was planned and built in from the outset.  Tony Wheat from local security firm Meggitt Marsh Guardian Systems was also involved from the start, first as the security consultant putting together the security requirement document for the new building, and then as the installer, having won the installation and maintenance contract in a competitive tender.  Tony outlined the requirements the new security system is designed to address: “As well as the training facilities here there are a number of expensive lifeboats moored at the centre and high value stores also.  The system was required to provide security for all these elements.  We identified four main issues in the system requirement – threat of attack and theft from the two sides of the site, both sea and land; protection of all the assets from theft, vandalism and arson; health and safety of all persons on the site, especially in the training tank; and traffic control at the road access points and within the site.

And access control
To address these requirements, an integrated CCTV and access control system was installed, centred in a 24-hour control room, built like a ship’s bridge with panoramic views of the entrance to the site The control room staff view eight Vista monitors (PVD 1700 DG) that display the images from the 50 plus cameras throughout the site, and recording is provided by four Vista Triplex Columbus Digital Video Recorders (VC16Te320). The cameras capture and record onto the DVRs identification quality images of everyone entering a building on the site. Vista medium resolution colour cameras (NCL735Cke) were selected for the internal locations on the site are and maintain surveillance of entry doors and all the internal facilities.  External surveillance is undertaken by very visible high-resolution Vista cameras (VPC9420) with PTZ control, from the manufacturer’s Protos family of cameras. The EXview chip set of the Protos3 EXView range ensures less smear in bright light, such as direct light or car headlights, making it highly suitable for images that include traffic at night, the makers report.  Another of the reasons for their selection was their robustness and ease of maintenance.  Tony Wheat said: “The environment here for external cameras is quite harsh with the seafront conditions of salt spray in high winds. We have a service level agreement with a very swift response time of only one hour of down time on a component of the system.  These cameras were selected because they are very robust, but in the event of a problem we know we can maintain them quickly and get the system up and running within the terms of the service level agreement.”
Access control throughout the site is provided by TDSi equipment including barriers, 5002-0352 proximity readers, and 5002-3092 door controllers, with all external doors and many internal doors coded to manage and restrict access to parts of the site.

Wave Tank
The cameras in the wave tank are regarded as the most innovative part of the installation. The requirement, largely for health and safety reasons, is to monitor the safety of trainees as they work in full kit in the water. This includes capsizing their boats, operating the radio by diving under a capsized boat, righting the boat, and re-starting the engines, which are usually flooded with water. Throughout these exercises, with numerous people in the water at times, there is inevitably danger, and to minimise this the images from four cameras in the wall of the tank  are displayed via a Vista VSCQe quad on a monitor in the observation area one floor above the level of the water. The cameras are housed in waterproof tubes in the side of the tank, similar to those used for the underwater lights, so the installation was fairly straightforward. However the selection and setup of the cameras required careful thought. Capturing images through water is not straightforward, with its high density and the risk of reflection of the underwater light sources off various surfaces such as the covers of the waterproof unit, the walls of the tank and even the surface of the water.  However the Watec WAT-250 high-resolution colour cameras selected for the task combined with their careful positioning within the waterproof units resulted in excellent picture quality and clarity for safety monitoring.
Reliable supplier
Tony Wheat summed up how using Norbain as his supplier on the project has helped him with both the initial installation and the ongoing maintenance. “We have been undertaking installation and maintenance work here with the RNLI for a number of years, so they are clearly satisfied with the service we provide, and for that we rely on a good distributor for both CCTV and access control equipment. For the installation I needed high spec reliable and easy to maintain equipment at sensible prices with all delivery promises met. For ongoing maintenance I need good technical support from the distributor to meet my requirement for very quick repair or replacement of any faulty parts.  Norbain meets all these needs, and are an essential part of keeping this important RNLI system in full operation.”

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